EEA and Swiss nationals applying for a registration certificate or permanent residence can now apply online and avoid the need to surrender their passports.

The UK Home Office recently launched two new services for European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals who apply for a registration certificate or permanent residence. Applicants will now be able to apply online (rather than prepare and submit a hard-copy application form). The service is now live.

In addition, the Home Office has launched a check and send service, similar to that already in place for British nationality applications. Applicants who have submitted an online application will be able to book an appointment to submit their hard-copy documents. At the appointment, a caseworker will check and copy the passport and return it to the applicant. This new process will avoid applicants’ need to submit and surrender their passports while their applications are under consideration.

Applicants in England and Wales will now be able to submit their passports to a participating local authority. Applicants in Northern Ireland and Scotland will be able to attend an appointment at the Premium Service Centre to use this service.

These two new services have been launched in response to the significant increase in registration certificate and permanent residence applications that the Home Office has received as a consequence of the vote to leave the European Union. Both services will greatly benefit EEA and Swiss nationals, who will be able to complete a simpler, shorter application form online and will be able to retain their passports and to travel while their applications are under consideration.

The services, however, are not open to non-EEA or non-Swiss family members of EEA or Swiss nationals.